Medical University of Varna (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 120-126
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.0036
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Bulgarian Folk Dances (BgFD) with their odd meters and ethnographic variety are unique cultural heritage, which deserves to be preserved and researched. There is a revival among the young people in Bulgaria to practice BgFD.

In the presented research project, BgFD is a selective sport discipline in the curriculum of the students in Medical University of Varna (MU-Varna), Bulgaria. BgFD optimally combine physical activity, social interaction and emotional experience, which could be beneficial for the students.

The aim of the presented research is to investigate the influence of BgFD on the overall health of the students from MU-Varna, taking into account the changes in their subjective health status at mental, physical and social levels after activities with the BgFD. Further, to assess students' attitudes to practice BgFD and their stress levels. The students’ opinion on their daily curriculum self-management is analysed.

Design and Methods:
Herewith are presented the preliminary results from the quantitative prospective cohort study, in which the participants consist of 184 students, divided into two main groups: dancing (92 students) and non-dancing BgFD (92 students) during their sports classes at the university. The study protocol has received approval by the Commission of Ethics in Scientific Research, MU-Varna, Bulgaria. Each of the students participated after signing an informed consent.

We present the results from the initial analysis of the attitudes and motivation for dancing, daily curriculum self-management, and subjective health (twice – at the beginning of the semester, before their dancing classes, and at the end of the semester). Further in the middle of the semester, a standardized tool, was applied to determine the stress levels of the participants. The statistical analysis were performed with IBM SPSS Statistics v.23. Hypotheses are tested using paired t-test, Independent-Samples t-test, One-Way ANOVA and χ2-criteria (for the descriptive profile data). The results obtained are considered as statistically significant if the p-value is <0.05.

Results and conclusions:
The study took place during the winter semester 2018/2019. The group of the students practicing BgFD are with better self-reported health than the non-practicing BgFD. The students who are enrolled in the BgFD-classes are also more self-organised and motivated to study. The stress levels are higher among the non-BgFD-dancers. The self-rated health of the dancing BgFD at the beginnig and at the end of the semester is improving significantly at the mental level (t=2.868, p<0.006). There is also improvement at physical and social level but it is not statistically significant. In general, the students "agree" or "absolutelly agree" that practicing BgFD improve their health and quality of life (92%).

Recently, there is growing interest towards BgFD among the young generation. This fact is an additional proof of the relevance of the reported research. The students “agree” or “absolutely agree” that the BgFD are exciting (65%) and interesting (72%). BgFD create social capital (trust, shared norms, openness, common values), which is a prerequisite for the development and sustainability of a healthy community such as the students from the MU-Varna. The overall results will be summarised and presented in the second phase of the research (Delphi-study).
Bulgarian Folk Dances (BgFD), self-reported health, university students, Medical University of Varna.